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In terms of being intuitive for a new user? Yes, the Linux CLI is a total failure. Can you imagine sitting an absolute newbie in front of a Linux (or any Unix) TTY and telling them, "Go at it"?

Why yes I can. I remember using a PC for the first time and typing all sorts of things at a prompt trying to work out the range of commands that were available.

The user will likely type "help" first. On Kubuntu I get this:

  username@loclahost:~$ help
  GNU bash, version 4.2.10(1)-release (x86_64-pc-linux-gnu)
  These shell commands are defined internally.  Type `help' to see this list.
  Type `help name' to find out more about the function `name'.
  Use `info bash' to find out more about the shell in general.
  Use `man -k' or `info' to find out more about commands not in this list.

  A star (*) next to a name means that the command is disabled.
  job_spec [&]                                                          history [-c] [-d offset] [n] or history -anrw [filename] or histor>
   (( expression ))                                                      if COMMANDS; then COMMANDS; [ elif COMMANDS; then COMMANDS; ]... [>
   . filename [arguments]                                                jobs [-lnprs] [jobspec ...] or jobs -x command [args]
   :                                                                     kill [-s sigspec | -n signum | -sigspec] pid | jobspec ... or kill>
   [ arg... ]                                                            let arg [arg ...]
   [[ expression ]]                                                      local [option] name[=value] ...
Which is surprisingly helpful and would give you a start at interacting with the computer at least. How far you'd get if you were literally thrown in at the deep-end with this I don't know.


To an inexperienced computer user, that help screen would be beyond incomprehensible.


>To an inexperienced computer user //

Actually I don't think it's about experience, it's about willingness to read and attempt to comprehend a system. If a person doesn't want to try then yes this will be difficult for them; it needs effort.


I did exactly that. It wasn't very helpful. One of the things that would bring shell into the 21st century is a decent discovery mechanism for new users. Learning shell by immersion in the oral history of *nix just isn't a scalable way to teach. No matter how enjoyable.


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